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Crooked timber

Punk-Rock veterans back with an inspired bang

Rating: 9 / 10

Francis Jones, 16 Mar 2009

Sisyphus, you know, the lad condemned to push the boulder up a hill. For infinity. This Greek myth provides the lyrical stimulus for ‘Enjoy The Struggle’, a song that urges us to embrace life, no matter what turds litter our path. It’s a lesson Therapy? have taken to heart, for whilst their generational contemporaries – what few remain – are happy to regurgitate the same old riffs, these contrary bastards are grappling with their creative muse like never before and, in doing so, have created one of the most exhilarating records in their two decade career.

Spurred on by producer Andy Gill, they push out from the punk-rock trenches, making daring sorties into jazz-metal and even encroaching into experimental instrumental rock territory with the ten-minute ‘Magic Mountain’. ‘Somnambulist’ meanwhile is heavier than our pal Sisyphus’s big rock; all boomeranging bass rhythms, towering guitar and drums that punch like Tyson in his prime. And what need for Jesus Lizard to reform when Therapy? are cranking out gleefully vicious little ditties such as ‘The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself’.

This record is not only musically BIG, it’s conceptually grand too. If they’re not musing on mortality, they’re contemplating humanity’s place in the grand scheme (‘Exiles’). The most striking image, however, is that conjured on ‘Clowns Galore’, mankind depicted unthinking and unfeeling with their snout in the trough, “gorging on everything, all of the time/Passing it onto the brood”. What’s most important about Crooked Timber, though, is not simply that Therapy? have something to say, but how devastatingly they say it.

Key Track: 'The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself'

Rating: 9 / 10
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